Tuesday, March 17, 2009

One Nation Today

Frank Field extolls the benfits of a contemporary National Service and in doing so opens up a new front against the "Progressive "left elite

Put bluntly, and uncomfortably for many on the left, it turns out that the social conservatives were right all along. Character building really is all about team sports, and group activities like those engaged in by the Girl Guides, cadets or the Boys’ Brigade. Academics and government ministers now call such things “positive structured activities.” Middle-class parents instinctively understand their benefits.....

.................Research by sociologist Miles Hewstone, meanwhile, shows that “intergroup contact” can increase tolerance and promote social cohesion. Such theories could go some way to solving a dilemma first identified by Robert Putnam, a renowned American academic. Putnam, an advocate of “bridging” between different groups, found that America’s most cosmopolitan communities tended also to have the lowest levels of social capital. Supposedly tolerant, mixed areas—like Brooklyn, or Tottenham—were more balkanised than places where everyone was white, or everyone was black. His research threatened to undermine decades of thinking about liberal tolerance. (Putnam was embarrassed by his own findings and kept them under wraps for years, darkly hinting at his results in private seminars.) ............

I like this idea the first time I heard David Cameron talking about it .We need to come together as a Nation and I relish to thought of joining forces with representatives of the decent people of this country who do not vote Conservative and with whom I have many points of agreement.

13 comments:

asquith said...

I like Field's idea on an emotional level, but I'd rather have a culture that valued voluntary work (eg. for students or those recently made unemployed) than a mandatory system. I also don't like the idea of them being paid by the state.

People who don't want to be there are a drag on any organisation. The original National Service was done away with because the army didn't want to spend time & money on conscripts who didn't know how to do anything or want to do it.

I take the point that people who may never have had decent role models should be given encouragement. But I am still a sceptic (not a denier) about this. I'd prefer a system in which, for example, students are given credits towards their degree if they do relevant voluntary work. I believe that law students who work at a Citizens' Advice Bureau already come under such schemes.

If people were paid £200 a week or what have you, it would also arouse resentment amongst those who do such work for nothing out of the goodness of their hearts, who generally wouldn't want to work alongside young twats anyway.

I like the idea of youngsters being given a sort of menu of what they can do, from working in maintaining woodlands & nature reserves to wiping old timers' bottoms, to helping mad fuckers. But I have reservations about whether a mandatory system would work properly.

In all honesty, while Field & those like him such as Duncan Smith have a number of worthwhile things to say, they are not mates of mine.

Worth thinking about though. I'm sure some on the left would have a fit, but so would some on the right such as bloggertarians.

Newmania said...

Asquith think of the enormous good it would do you to meet soem people who are not working class

You might buff up quite nicely for all I know

Little Black Sambo said...

It sounds like "bussing", but applied to society generally, and not just to schools - i.e. social engineering. It is the sort of thing the socialists may suddenly become very keen on.

asquith said...

I've done various forms of voluntary work, with the National Trust & I was at a Citizens' Advice Bureau for a bit. When I got a job I still made occasional visits there, & as for the NT stuff I'm going to resume it in the summer on occasional weekends.

Some people do ridiculous amounts of volunteering & have no other form of life, but I just do every now & then. It's like a very cheap holiday, except that you have to work, but not very hard.

Most of the people in both were professionals (often retired). Though they never seemed to be Tories for some reason, even if they were private-sector moneymakers. Perhaps it is a regional thing.

A said...

I love Frank Field because he tells the truth as he sees it.

Newmania said...

Asquith I do have to wonder why you are doing voluntary work when you cannnot support yourself ( you say)

Newmania said...

A-Agreed

Newmania said...

LBS - I see your point but I still think its a good idea

it's either banned or compulsory said...

Something else that the chavs would spend their lives seeking to avoid. Those who would benefit most would contribute the least. In any case it would evolve into something like the USSRs Young Pioneers which was itself based on the Hitler Youth.

Newmania said...

Its either....

The Scouts had much in common with the Hitler Youth as do the Boys brigade So what


I am disturbed by your cynicism , if like me , you want a small state happy country we have to stop the fragementation into classes that do not mix

asquith said...

I am supporting myself, & am not doing voluntary work now. You misunderstand me, like.

I believe I said I can't maintain a luxury lifestyle, but I have got some form of job which pays & that. Though I do not discuss what I do for a living as I believe management know about my blogging :)

Those who do voluntary work while on benefits are often trying to make themselves more employable so that when a good job becomes vacant they'll be able to do it. Not something to condemn, it is a bit like studying but more useful.

it's either banned or compulsory said...

The difference between the Scouts ( of which I was a member for many years )/ Boys Brigade and the Young Pioneers/Hitler Youth is that membership of the former is voluntary.
Any Civic version of National Service would become another career path for sub-marxist control freaks.

Newmania said...

Any Civic version of National Service would become another career path for sub-marxist control freaks.

I was going to say is that what the education systemn is then ,...and then I see what you mean.
I am sure you are eminently employable A

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